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K. G. Carpenter (NASA-GSFC), C. J. Schrijver (LMATC), M. Karovska (SAO), SI Vision Mission Study Team
The Stellar Imager (SI) is a UV-Optical, Space-Based Interferometer designed to enable 0.1 milli-arcsecond (mas) spectral imaging of stellar surfaces and stellar interiors (via asteroseismology) and of the Universe in general. SI was included as a "far horizon" or "Vision Mission" in the 2000 and 2003 SEC Roadmaps and is now identified as a "Flagship and Landmark Discovery Mission" in the 2005 Sun Solar System Connection (SSSC) Roadmap and as a candidate for a "Pathways to Life Observatory" in the Exploration of the Universe Division (EUD) Roadmap (May, 2005). The ultra-sharp images of the Stellar Imager will revolutionize our view of many dynamic astrophysical processes: The 0.1 mas resolution of this deep-space telescope will transform point sources into extended sources, and snapshots into evolving views. SI's science focuses on the role of magnetism in the Universe, particularly on magnetic activity on the surfaces of stars like the Sun. SI's prime goal is to enable long-term forecasting of solar activity and the space weather that it drives in support of the Living With a Star program in the Exploration Era. SI will also revolutionize our understanding of the formation of planetary systems, of the habitability and climatology of distant planets, and of many magneto-hydrodynamically controlled processes in the Universe. The results of a just-concluded "Vision Mission" Study of Stellar Imager will be presented in this paper.
This work was supported, in part, by Vision Mission Study grants from NASA HQ to NASA-GSFC and from GSFC to Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Seabrook Engineering, SUNY/Stonybrook, U. Colorado/Boulder, and STScI. Substantial complementary internal institutional support is gratefully acknowledged from all of the participating institutions.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.